The calendar has turned to June and Major League Baseball has completed the first two months of the 2017 season. The big question is… will the Houston Astros make their first World Series appearance since 2005 and are they primed to win their first World Series title in franchise history?
The Astros have baseball’s best record at 38-16, a .704 winning percentage. But here’s a quick stat that may give Astros’ fans even more reason to think this is their year: In three of the last four seasons, the team with the best record in baseball as of June 1 has made it to the World Series that year, and two of the last three World Series champions (the Cubs last year and the Giants in 2014) had the MLB’s best record on June 1. All good news for the fans in Houston.
Of course two months does not a season make. But let’s take a look at the last five seasons and see how the teams that led their division on the morning of June 1 did that season.
First, a quick look at this year’s standings. The teams leading their division on June 1 in 2017 are the New York Yankees, Houston and a tie between the Indians and Twins in the American League, and Washington, Milwaukee (yes, the Brewers) and the Dodgers in the National League.
Here’s a few stats concerning teams in first place in their division as of June 1:
- There were 32 teams that led or were tied for the division lead from 2012-2016. Of those 32 teams, 13 went on to win the division that season. Of those 32 teams, 20 made the playoffs that year.
- Of those 13 teams that led their division on June 1 and then won the division that year, four of those teams came from the N.L. Central (good news for the Brewers), most of any of the six divisions.
- Of the last 10 World Series teams, four led their division on June 1 that year, six did not.
- Of the last five World Series champs, three led their division on June 1 that year, two did not (Kansas City in 2015 and the Giants in 2012).
- The last season where two teams that led their division on June 1 met in the World Series was in 2013 (Boston versus St. Louis).
Here’s one final stat: As mentioned above, the Astros have a .704 winning percentage here on the morning of June 1. Since 2000, the Astros are only the fourth team to have a winning percentage of .700 or better on June 1. The Cubs last year were at .700 on June 1, while the 2002 Red Sox (.706) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (.769) are the other teams on the list.
The Houston Astros were one of the surprise teams in the majors this year. They finished with an 86-76 record (.531), their first season above .500 in the past seven seasons, and made the playoffs. Houston’s successful season now gives the active “seasons under .500” title to the Miami Marlins; they have the longest current streak of sub .500 seasons with six.
Here’s a look at each MLB team and the last time they had three straight seasons under .500.
Los Angeles Dodgers, 1936-38 (as the Brooklyn Dodgers)
St. Louis Cardinals, 1954-56
Boston, 1992-94 (last two seasons under .500)
Los Angeles Angels, 1992-94
Atlanta, 1988-90 (last two seasons under .500)
New York Yankees, 1990-92
Arizona, 2004-06 (last two seasons under .500)
Tampa Bay, 2005-07
San Francisco, 2006-08
Cincinnati, 2007-09 (last two seasons under .500)
Kansas City, 2010-12
Chicago Cubs, 2012-14
New York Mets, 2012-14
Chicago White Sox, 2013-15 (last three seasons under .500
Philadelphia, 2013-15 (last three seasons under .500)
Colorado, 2013-15 (last five seasons under .500)
San Diego, 2013-15 (last five season under .500)
Miami, 2013-15 (last six seasons under .500)
- The last time the Dodgers had back-to-back sub-.500 seasons was in 1986 and 1987.
- The Yankees have a active streak of 23 straight seasons above .500.
- The Cardinals have been above .500 in 15 of the last 16 seasons. The last time they had back-to-back seasons under .500 were in 1994 and 1995.
- Three of the 10 teams that made the playoffs this season had five or more season of sub .500 ball prior to this year. The Astros, as previously mentioned, had six straight seasons under .500 before 2015, while the Mets and Cubs both had five seasons consecutive seasons under .500 prior to this year.
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One of the biggest surprises of the 2015 MLB season has been the play of the Houston Astros. From 2011-2013, the Astros had three straight 100-loss seasons, including a team-record 111 losses in 2013. Through the first two months of this season, however, we have seen a different Astros team. Currently, they sit atop the American League West with a 35-28 record (.556 winning percentage) and a 1.5 game lead over Texas.
If the Astros continue at this pace and end the season above .500, they would become only the 17th team in MLB history to go from 100 or more losses in a season to playing over .500 two years later. The last MLB franchise to achieve this was the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay in 2006 had 101 losses; two years later they were 97-65 (a .599 winning percentage) and made the 2008 World Series (where they lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies).
Of the previous 16 teams to go from a 100-loss season to a winning percentage above .500 two years later:
* Six made the playoffs that season; four played in the World Series, two won the championship that year.
* Two won over 60% of their games (the 1914 Boston Braves lost 101 games and then were 94-59/.614 two years later; 1967 New York Mets lost 101 games and then were 100-62/.617 two years later). Both teams won the World Series that year.
Here’s a look at the 16 teams that lost 100+ games one season and then two years later finished the season over .500.
Team, 100-loss season (two years later)
New York Yankees, 103 losses in 1908 (.583 in 1910)
Boston Braves, 101 losses in 1914 (.614 in 1916)
Pittsburgh, 103 losses in 1917 (.511 in 1919)
Philadelphia Phillies, 102 losses in 1930 (.506 in 1932)
Boston Braves, 115 losses in 1935 (.520 in 1937)
Philadelphia A’s, 105 losses in 1946 (.545 in 1948)
Philadelphia A’s, 102 losses in 1950 (.513 in 1952)
Philadelphia Phillies, 107 losses in 1961 (.537 in 1963)
Boston Red Sox, 100 losses in 1965 (.568 in 1967)
Chicago Cubs, 103 losses in 1966 (.519 in 1968)
New York Mets, 101 losses in 1967 (.617 in 1969)
Chicago White Sox, 106 losses in 1970 (.565 in 1972)
Oakland, 108 losses in 1979 (.587 in 1981)
San Francisco, 100 losses in 1985 (.556 in 1987)
Detroit, 103 losses in 1989 (.519 in 1991)
Tampa Bay, 101 losses in 2006 (.599 in 2008)
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
How important is the home run to a team’s success?
If you ask the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros this morning, they will tell you that the long-ball is very important. The Yankees got a walk-off home run from Russell Martin on their way to a sweep of the cross-town rival Mets in yesterday’s 5-4 win. For the Astros, they slugged four home runs in Sunday’s 11-9 win over the Chicago White Sox.
But let’s get back to the question above. For the Yankees, Martin’s game-winner was his second four-bagger of the game. It was also the 31st game of the season where the Yankees have hit two or more home runs in a game. They have a record of 26 wins and only five losses in those games, an .839 winning percentage. What makes that stat even more remarkable is that when the Yankees do not hit a home run in a game, their record is 0-12!
Through games of May 10, teams that have multiple home run games have won 340 and lost 131, a .722 winning percentage. Teams that do not homer in a game have won 238 and lost 477, a winning percentage of .333… that’s a difference of .389!
Here’s a look at each of the 3o MLB teams and how well they have played in games where they hit multiple home runs and those games where they went homerless.
Multiple HR games/Homerless games (Pct. Difference)
N.Y. Yankees 26-5 .839/0-12 .000 (.839)
Boston 15-2 .882/4-17 .190 (.692)
Arizona 11-2 .846/6-18 .250 (.596)
Chicago White Sox 17-3 .850/4-11 .267 (.583)
St. Louis 18-6 .750/4-18 .182 (.568)
Cincinnati 16-5 .762/6-20 .231 (.531)
Texas 15-4 .789/4-11 .267 (.522)
Milwaukee 12-6 .667/3-16 .158 (.509)
Atlanta 15-3 .833/7-14 .333 (.500)
Minnesota 7-3 .700/6-22 .214 (.486)
Houston 10-3 .769/8-18 .308 (.461)
Baltimore 16-8 .667/3-11 .214 (.453)
Cleveland 10-3 .769/9-19 .321 (.448)
Pittsburgh 10-2 .833/12-17 .414 (.419)
Seattle 8-4 .667/6-17 .261 (.406)
Philadelphia 11-4 .733/9-18 .333 (.400)
Miami 11-4 .733/10-18 .357 (.376)
L.A. Angels 13-4 .765/9-12 .429 (.336)
Tampa Bay 13-4 .765/9-11 .450 (.315)
Toronto 17-7 .708/6-9 .400 (.308)
Kansas City 7-4 .636/9-18 .333 (.303)
Washington 11-2 .846/12-10 .545 (.301)
Oakland 8-5 .615/9-18 .333 (.282)
L.A. Dodgers 5-1 .833/16-12 .571 (.262)
Chicago Cubs 6-6 .500/8-21 .276 (.224)
Detroit 9-7 .563/9-14 .391 (.172)
Colorado 9-10 .474/7-14 .333 (.141)
N.Y. Mets 7-6 .538/13-17 .433 (.105)
San Francisco 5-3 .625/19-17 .528 (.097)
San Diego 2-5 .286/11-27 .289 (+.003)
Did you know?
* The Yankees have the most multi-HR games with 31. The Red Sox have the best winning percentage in multiple home run games with a .882 winning percentage (15-2)
* Colorado and San Diego are the only two teams that have a losing record in games where they hit two or more home runs. The Rockies are 9-10 and the Padres are 2-5 in multiple home run games.
* The Dodgers, Giants and Nationals are the only teams with winning records in games where they do not hit a home runs. The Padres have the most homerless games with 38.
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
This weekend many of us will be celebrating Memorial Day and the contributions of the countless men and women who served our country and fought for our freedom.
Brewers fans this weekend also have something else to celebrate. Today, May 26, 2012, is the fifth anniversary of Ryan Braun‘s first career home run. On May 26, 2007, Braun hit a solo HR off Padres pitcher Justin Germano in the third inning in San Diego.
In honor of the fifth anniversary of Braun’s first round-tripper, here’s a few stats regarding the 174 homers Braun has hit up to this point in what many Brewers fans hope will be a long career with the club.
* Braun was hitting second in the order when he hit his first career home run. It is the only time that he has hit an HR while batting second in the order. He has hit 163 from the third spot, nine from the clean-up spot, and one from the eighth spot in the order.
* Braun has hit most of his home runs in the first three innings (72). He has 62 four-baggers in innings four through six, and 40 HRs from the seventh inning on.
* Braun has hit 101 home runs when he has seen three or less pitches. He has 73 home runs when he has seen four or more pitches in an at-bat.
* Braun has hit the most home runs (64) when the Brewers are behind in the game. He has hit 62 when the Brewers are ahead and has hit 48 when the game is tied.
* He has 92 HRs at Miller Park and 82 in away games.
* When it comes to strikes in the count, Braun’s home run stroke has been most successful with one strike. He has 68 homers with one strike in the count; 57 home runs with two strikes in the count; and 49 four-baggers when there are no strikes in the count. When it comes to balls in the count, Braun has hit more HRs when there are no balls in the count (59). He has 48 home runs with one ball in the count; 47 home runs with two balls in the count; and 20 long balls with three balls in the count.
* Braun has 64 home runs with no outs in the inning… 56 home runs with one out in the inning… 54 home runs with two outs in the inning.
* Braun has hit the most home runs in July (35). Other monthly HR counts: March (1), April (29), May (27), June (26), August (26), September (28), October (2).
* Braun’s 173rd home run was on May 21 when he hit a two-run homer in the 8th inning against the Giants to tie the score at 3-3. It was the 12th time in his career that he has hit a home run in the 7th inning or later to tie the score or put the Brewers ahead in the game.
Research Source: baseball-reference.com
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